Ohio Workforce Coalition (OWC) Leadership Council members have reviewed the Diplomas to Career Pathways report and are pleased the state is continuing to recognize adult education as a crucial link to career pathways, as noted in the Ohio Workforce Coalition’s policy platform recommendations.
OWC applauds the intentional approach and state leadership the report recommends. The plan calls for a state intra-agency partnership. This replaces the current silo-based referral system with an integrated and blended-funding service delivery model with career pathway measurements as its core outcome. The report cites great initiatives like I-BEST and LaGuardia’s Bridge Program that require blended funding. The programs have multiple partners with common measures. However, to implement these program models statewide, the state would need to provide funding directly for partnerships. The reasons these models are successful is the clearly defined career pathway measures, incentives are provided for the students, and unrestrictive funding. OWC recommends the state consider all the components of these successful programs. It is encouraging that TANF recipients were mentioned specifically. This is a great opportunity for Ohio to look at best practices for blending GED and work experience programs, as well as, contextualized GED/ABLE curriculum with vocational training.
Another strategy detailed in the report is the outreach campaign targeting Ohioans without a GED. One suggestion, if the goal is to prepare individuals for better employment and to meet the needs of employers, it may be worth emphasizing the employment goal rather than the GED. In addition, the report states there is capacity to serve 7,200 students. What is the state’s plan if the campaign is successful and exceeds the current capacity? It has been noted one million Ohioans need assistance. The concern arises since this population has been turned off by education in the past. Individuals may become discouraged with a wait list or overcrowded classrooms. There should be a thoughtful plan in place to increase funding and expand capacity quickly.
Click here to review the full Diplomas to Career Pathways report.